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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)

Chapter 4: The town of Cacheu, a place of treasure, and the condition of its population,   pp. 1-8

Page 3

In liberality to themselves they are not sparing, as can be seen from the
way they treat themselves to clothes.   They cut up silks to provide
articles of costly dress, or some use less expensive material for their
different clothes, material such as damask from the Indies or China in
several qualities, this material being more suitable for a land where
English cloths and suchlike are intolerable. If they are particular in
this matter of dress, they are no less so in equipping themselves with
means of defence and attack, such apparel as breastplates, etc, and daggers,
shields, swords and other weapons. When the countryside permits the use
of horses there is no lack of /f.15v/ enthusiasm for this exercise. One
man who does this is Gaspar Carneiro, a native of Vila da Santarem : I
shall not describe in detail his skill because it is widely recognised, as
are his nobility and the valour of his generous heart. What shall I say
of the way of life of these people ?   It has been much talked about, and
even today the banquets and exquisite feasts they used to give and still
give are the subject of talk, for they spent on each a great outpouring
of money. But if they are generous to themselves they are not less so to
their friends and proteges, and to anyone else, since charity by its nature
cannot be selective.(b)    Our Society has experienced to the full the
extreme generosity displayed towards it by Captain Sebastian Fernandes
Cacvao, who used to welcome the sons of Ignatius scattered through these
parts will all the hallmarks of generosity, and so liberally and lavishly
that it was easier for the padres to bear privations than to escape the
importunate charity of their admirer, a charity which tried to force them
to accept great gifts from his hands, though they only took the little that
was necessary for life. Two years ago the same thing happened to one of
our order who returned in ill-health from Sierra Leone, th? generosity
being that of Captain Baltasar Lopes from Setuval. He provided him with
all he needed, not only while he was awaiting a passage to the Island,
but also for the journey, giving him this on his departure. I could name
other gentlemen whose fine reputation for similar acts of charity I prefer
to conceal because my silence speaks louder than words.

(b) Character of the settlers. See Chapter 5.


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